Blog: Twelve Fast Shooting Spree Facts

Hey, kids, here are 12 fast shooting spree facts that you can use to amaze and astound your friends. You’ll be the envy of everyone. Trust me.

Hey, kids, here are 12 fast shooting spree facts that you can use to amaze and astound your friends. You’ll be the envy of everyone. Trust me.

  1. You have to kill at least four people, not including yourself, in one single location for it to qualify as a “mass shooting.”
  2. There have been at least 62 mass shootings in the last 30 years.
  3. There have been seven mass shootings this year (2012).
  4. More than 3/4 of the weapons used in a mass shooting over the last 30 years were bought legally.
  5. No one knows why we call them “mass shootings,” rather than “mass killings,” or “mass slaughter,” but I have my ideas on this.
  6. There are more than 129,817 licensed firearms dealers in the United States: 51,438 retail gun stores, 7,356 pawn shops, and 61,562 “collectors.” The balance are manufacturers and importers of firearms and destructive devices.
  7. There are 20,366 Starbucks in the world.
  8. There are 36,569 grocery stores in the United States and 14,098 McDonalds in the United States.
  9. Half of the mass shootings over the last 30 years involved schools or workplaces.
  10. Except in the cases of Columbine and Westside Middle School, the killings were done by one individual. The vast majority of the time the shooter is a white male.
  11. Mattel has no plans to release “Drive-by Barbie” in time for Christmas.
  12. You should wonder about the people who can legally import a “destructive device” into the United States. That’s equal to importing rice into India.

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Sharon Cody December 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM
This is sickening! Thank you Dan for providing a reality check with these shocking statistics. This country is long overdue to stop this insanity. It will be too late to save the precious little ones and their brave teachers at Sandy Hook but we can save others if we have even a tiny bit of the courage these teachers demonstrated on this day of unspeakable violence.
Shripathi Kamath December 19, 2012 at 04:46 PM
I guess Jonathan Swift is rethinking why he thought of satire as a device to comment on a social ill. I must point out a couple of those factoid thingies. Supplemental info, like. 1. The devil's in the details of how one manipulates statistics. So if you set the bar at four, what you'll find is that the number of mass shootings have declined slightly/ remained virtually steady over the years. However, raise the bar by one more, i.e. five or more, and now you have a different picture (http://bit.ly/U30yCr) 6. 67,139 of the 67,140 elementary schools in the nation had no untoward incident. That is a 99.9985% success rate, why not look at it more positively?
Dan Avery December 19, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Here's another view: gun ownership in the United States has decreased steadily since the 1970's, but violent acts involving guns has increased. Also there were two spikes in gun sales after each time Obama was elected President.
Charles December 20, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Ban lightening because you're more likely to die by lightning (54 per year) than you are getting shot in a mass shooting. Other causes of death (annually): Texting while driving 6000, Bees 54, coconuts 130, dogs 34, falling out of bed 450, autoerotic asphyxiation 600, medical mistakes 100K+. (Thirty three thousand die from drunk drivers per year.) How much time, money, and resources should the US spend fighting something that for all statistical purposes is in the noise compared to the top 69 causes of death?
Shripathi Kamath December 20, 2012 at 05:44 PM
"How much time, money, and resources should the US spend fighting something that for all statistical purposes is in the noise compared to the top 69 causes of death?" I don't know, how much are we spending fighting people flying planes into buildings? Or having metal detectors at the Capitol? Heck, why bother with lightning rods? Why do churches even have lightning rods? Why did the cow jump over the moon?
Tom Sheltraw December 21, 2012 at 06:18 AM
Charles, Thanks for sharing the stats. It is very interesting that the government is more interested in the perceived peace of the people rather than the actual safety of the people. This is evident in the choices they make regarding the issues they pursue.
Dan Avery December 24, 2012 at 01:53 AM
The medical mistakes is extremely disturbing. How does one die by coconut?
LBV Collins December 25, 2012 at 06:44 PM
"How much time, money, and resources should the US spend fighting something that for all statistical purposes is in the noise compared to the top 69 causes of death?" I suspect, Charles, that the answer lies in the fact that of all those methods of death, only one is specifically designed to kill: Guns. As the NRA proudly points out, "Guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people." (Ummm... that's their motto, right?)
john hobson January 01, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Dan'l: Gun control advocates need to stare down some issues if they are to be taken seriously. 1. The Second Amendment. This gives every adult, sane, non-felon American the right to own a gun. The argument that the founding fathers did not forsee automatic weapons doesn't hold water; most Americans have as much right to own a gun as they do to watch porn. The Supreme Court has ruled you do not have to join a militia to own a gun. They do allow State and Federal laws to limit gun ownership/sales when there is a compelling reason. 2. State laws vary as do background checks. New York found that many guns used in NYC crimes were purchased in Georgia and Alabama. 3. Gun shows are a big loophole for background checks. This is the easy ball. 4. Gun parts are also problematic. The AR-15 is sold in components. You choose a firing mechanism of .17 to .30 caliber (which is considered a firearm by Federal law), a barrel length, a stock, a sight/scope, and a magazine. I doubt Colt sells short barrels (which limits the weapon to up close and personal use but also conceals it under a coat) but these are readily available. A 30 bullet magazine is legal to possess as long as it is not attached to the weapon. The AR-15 is sold as a semi-automatic but kits for 3 bullet burst or full automatic modes are legal to possess. As much as I enjoy stats, I'd like to see a gun control argument with some teeth. Peace.
Dan Avery January 01, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Dear Mr. Hobson, I had my tongue in my cheek. Say hi to Father Frank for me! Peace.
Dan Avery January 01, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Oh and I'd still love to know how people die from Coconuts.
Tom Sheltraw January 01, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Dan, Here is the mathematical answer to your question,"How do people get killed by coconuts." Part 1 According to Wikipedia, 54 million tonnes of coconuts were produced in 2009. From this, we know that if each coconut weighs 10 lbs, then roughly 1.0×1010 coconuts were produced. Now, we could quibble about the actual number. Some grow in the wild which might make the actual number larger. Some coconuts are picked instead of falling, so that might make the actual number smaller. You can argue either way, so let’s stick with this figure just to keep the problem relatively simple. There are 6.7×109 people in the world, each of which has about 1.5 ft2 of area that the coconut could land on giving a total area of about 1.0×1010 ft2. According to Wikipedia, the total land area in the world is about 1.5×108 km2. If people are randomly distributed across the land area of Earth, then the probability of being hit by a coconut is equal to the fraction of land area that people take up at any given time. From this, we suspect that each year roughly 6 out of every one million people get bonked by a coconut.
Tom Sheltraw January 01, 2013 at 09:48 PM
Part 2 It’s difficult to say how many people actually get killed by coconuts. From our calculation above and the world population, we can estimate the number of people that get hit by coconuts each year, but not everyone who gets hit from a falling coconut will be killed by it. Assuming all hits were fatal, we could calculate the total number of deaths by multiplying “hits per person” times the “total number of people”, to get (6×10-6 hits per person) × (6.7×109 people) = 40,000 fatal hits. If hits are only fatal 1% of the time, then 400 people will die from coconuts falling. However, this 1% statistic may be off substantially—possibly much more than an order of magnitude—so our estimate is very rough. It’s difficult to tell how many coconut-induced fatalities will occur, but our estimate of “40,000 coconut hits” suggests that the number of deaths could be substantially higher than 150. If this were the case, then coconuts are certainly not out to get you since they kill fewer people than they would by chance. We’ve assumed the following: · Coconuts are 10 lbs on average. · The mass of all the falling coconuts in the world each year is equivalent to the mass of coconuts produced each year. · The probability of a falling coconut hitting a person is equal to the fraction of land area taken up by people. · Only 1% of coconut hits are fatal. Here is the whole story:-) http://diaryofnumbers.blogspot.com/2010/11/death-by-coconut.html?m=1
john hobson January 03, 2013 at 04:39 AM
Not to quibble but you haven't factored in suicide-by-coconut. Those poor lost souls who stand under the tree and shake it.
Dan Avery January 03, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Um, thanks, but I was an English major and numbers, well, confuse me. At least they have ever since I was sitting under this tree and this apparently suicidal, fool Hobson kept shaking it to get the coconuts that were up there.
GenXsurvivor March 11, 2014 at 06:29 PM
Gun Ownership decreased? Dan, I think you should really spend some time and do some objective research with current DROS-request figures (i.e. > 2011). 2012-2013, especially in CA, saw some of the most record-setting numbers since 1993. Also, there's the fact that there has not been any increase in gun violence, but rather, a decrease. The only thing related to gun violence, is the increased media exposure they now receive, in order to shape the opinions of those who they can manipulate through tragedy exploitation. http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/05/14/disarming-realities-as-gun-sales-soar-gun-crimes-plummet/


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